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Book on the History of Hong Kong

Book on the History of Hong Kong

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I am new to this This Site community, so please let me know if this question is out of scope.

I am looking for a book on the history of Hong Kong, but I am unsure on whether there are any main references out there. I would like a book that is rigorous yet makes for an enjoyable read. I would like the book to cover the return of the city to Chinese sovereignty so it should be a relatively recent book.

Browsing through the internet, I have found a couple of books that seem close to what I am looking for:

  • A History of Hong Kong, by Frank Welsh;
  • East and West, by Chris Patten (last British governor of Hong Kong).

I would like to know if these books (or any other for that matter) are considered "canonical" in this subject.

Book on the History of Hong Kong - History



John Carroll’s engrossing and accessible narrative explores the remarkable history of Hong Kong from the early 1800s through the post–1997 handover, when this former British colony became a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. The book explores Hong Kong as a place with a unique identity, yet also as a crossroads where Chinese history, British colonial history, and world history intersect. Carroll concludes by assessing the legacies of colonial rule, the consequences of Hong Kong’s reintegration with China, and significant developments and challenges since 1997.

John M. Carroll is professor of history at the University of Hong Kong.

“John Carroll has done an excellent job of . . . producing an engaging and up-to-date overview of the territory from the beginning of colonial rule through to the present. It will be of particular value to those who teach on Hong Kong, as they now have a book that students will find accessible and interesting, but it will also serve as a good entry point for those who want to learn more about the development of this distinctive region.” —New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies

“Written in a readable style free of jargon, John Carroll’s new work is a welcome addition to the growing historiography of Hong Kong. It skillfully chronicles major events in Hong Kong from the early nineteenth century to the present, concluding with a thoughtful epilogue analyzing the legacies of colonialism and their contemporary relevance. Valuable for general readers, this book is also a useful reference for scholars in the field.” —Jung-fang Tsai, College of Charleston

“This is an extraordinary study and could be used by any level of scholar and in any number of classrooms. . . .” —World History Connected

“A fine balance between substance and readability.” —Sino-Western Cultural Relations Journal

“Carroll . . . offers a cogent synthetic history from the 1840s Opium War to the present. . . . Clearly written [and] accessible. . . . Recommended.” —Choice

A Modern History of Hong Kong

I got to visit Hong Kong this past winter, and I had a great time. Unfortunately, I knew almost nothing about Hong Kong&aposs background and rich history. Steve Tsang tells you everything you could possibly want to know about Hong Kong from the 1841-1997 period. While the book is a tad dry, I would recommend reading for people that want to know more. This quote from the last chapter sums up the entire book quite nicely,

"British Hong Kong was handed back to the successor state of the Chinese Empire I got to visit Hong Kong this past winter, and I had a great time. Unfortunately, I knew almost nothing about Hong Kong's background and rich history. Steve Tsang tells you everything you could possibly want to know about Hong Kong from the 1841-1997 period. While the book is a tad dry, I would recommend reading for people that want to know more. This quote from the last chapter sums up the entire book quite nicely,

"British Hong Kong was handed back to the successor state of the Chinese Empire not because it had failed or its people had voted to do so, but for essentially the same reason that it had come under British rule in the first place. This was the result of the changing balance of power between Britain and China. The main difference being that this time this was recognized and acted on by its sovereign power, Britain, without fighting a war that it could not win. Both Britain and China accepted that Hong Kong had become too valuable to risk its destruction. In this sense the peaceful and successful transfer of its sovereignty represented the triumph of reason and reasonable behavior over emotions and dogma." . more

Hong Kong&aposs colonial history isn&apost just worth learning about for those interested in the city. Conceptions and misconceptions about colonial Hong Kong continue to directly shape both Hong Kong and China&aposs attitude to the West. Moreover, British Hong Kong provides an effective backdrop to study broader political questions, such as how democracy develops, the relationship between colonizer and colonized, and diplomacy between nations. Anyone interested in these themes would gain a lot from studyin Hong Kong's colonial history isn't just worth learning about for those interested in the city. Conceptions and misconceptions about colonial Hong Kong continue to directly shape both Hong Kong and China's attitude to the West. Moreover, British Hong Kong provides an effective backdrop to study broader political questions, such as how democracy develops, the relationship between colonizer and colonized, and diplomacy between nations. Anyone interested in these themes would gain a lot from studying the city's colonial history.

I read this book concurrently with the other HK colonial history book people often recommend, A Modern History of Hong Kong by Frank Welsh. I reviewed both, and hope that comparing them can help point readers to where to start if they want to start learning about this city's fascinating and ever so relevant history.

Surprisingly, the two books are far more alike than different in their perspective on British Hong Kong's history. Neither shy away from extolling the achievements of the British rulers, though do they also avoid over-sentimentalizing their intentions. Both try their best to describe the complex relationship between the colonial government and Chinese community (often relying on the same events and sources), though both are also limited by the challenges of comprehensively representing a community with limited education and political influence. Much of the analysis on the Chinese community relies on seminal events (such as the 1967 riots) or particularly influential Chinese (the Tung Wah Hospital Board or the Sanitation Bureau officials).

In terms of writing style, Tsang's book makes considerably less use of direct citations of primary sources (liberal use of footnotes) and clearly values efficiently communicating ideas over constructing a narrative. Despite being roughly a third in length, Tsang covers more ground than Welsh both in terms of timeframe and themes. While this makes the book a more digestible read, I was surprised to find it less compelling than Welsh's longer, more involved work. Since Tsang avoids Welsh's lengthy analysis of primary documents and characters' personalities, it often reads more like a textbook than history book. While this would make it a more efficient read for those who simply want to learn about Hong Kong's history quickly, a committed reader would probably find Welsh's work more absorbing and rewarding.

Thematically, Tsang's book differentiates itself from Welsh by focusing more on three key areas: economic forces, Hong Kong's role in China's 20th century turmoil, and the Sino-British Handover negotiations. Tsang displays a better understanding of the broad, structural forces at work in the 19th and 20th centuries. For example, he dedicates an entire chapter to detailing how the economy evolved from a simple trading hub to a manufacturing hub and later a services hub, drawing on the effects of government policy, Chinese immigrants' personal incentives, Hong Kong's unique opportunities during the Cold War, and how credit was granted by the banking sector. He also focuses on how Hong Kong influenced the Chinese revolutions and Civil War, making the interesting argument that British Hong Kong (which avoided persecuting Nationalist and Communist sympathizers alike) both stabilized China by providing the losers of conflict with a safe refuge, and destabilized it by providing revolutionaries with a safe haven to develop their ideologies and plans. Tsang's book shines most when discussing the Sino-British Handover negotiations and the impact of Chris Patten's last governorship, both of which were ongoing when Welsh published his book. We're given a much clearer picture of why the negotiations unfolded the way they did, and the multifaceted and changing public response to them.

However, much of the above comes at the expense of analyzing the politics, ideas, and personalities that drove Britain's impactful rule, which Welsh does remarkably well. This is evident in how ¾ of Welsh's book by page-count takes place before and during WWII, a period that occupies less than ½ of Tsang's. Readers who are more interested in the topics above will probably find Tsang's book more informative, but those interested in better understanding Britain's rule would likely be drawn to Welsh. In my view, the latter is far more under-represented in discussions on HK and China despite its continued relevance, which made me slightly more impressed by Welsh (though both are worth reading!). . more

A History of Hong Kong

Hong Kong&aposs colonial history isn&apost just worth learning about for those interested in the city. Conceptions and misconceptions about colonial Hong Kong continue to directly shape both Hong Kong and China&aposs attitude to the West. Moreover, British Hong Kong provides an effective backdrop to study broader political questions, such as how democracy develops, the relationship between colonizer and colonized, and diplomacy between nations. Anyone interested in these themes would gain a lot from studyin Hong Kong's colonial history isn't just worth learning about for those interested in the city. Conceptions and misconceptions about colonial Hong Kong continue to directly shape both Hong Kong and China's attitude to the West. Moreover, British Hong Kong provides an effective backdrop to study broader political questions, such as how democracy develops, the relationship between colonizer and colonized, and diplomacy between nations. Anyone interested in these themes would gain a lot from studying the city's colonial history.

I read this book concurrently with the other HK colonial history book people often recommend, A Modern History of Hong Kong by Steve Tsang. I reviewed both, and hope that comparing them can help point readers to where to start if they want to start learning about this city's fascinating and ever so relevant history.

The major critique people have of Welsh's A History of Hong Kong is its Anglocentrism, which is undeniably present. This is unsurprising, given that Welsh is himself a Brit and wrote this book as part of a series of histories on Britain's former colonies. However, when properly contextualized this shouldn't detract from the book's value. Not only does Welsh explicitly acknowledge the limitations of his perspective in the introduction (ultimately the best we can expect from any historian), but I would argue that a careful understanding of British interests is crucial for understanding what unfolded in Hong Kong and China from 1842-1997. The fact that this influential perspective is often ignored or oversimplified in most modern mainstream discussions of Hong Kong's history make it all the more valuable.

While Welsh's lengthy accounts of British political sentiments, parliamentary power transfers, and the personal histories of every influential Governor, parliamentarian, or civil service member can at times be monotonous and borderline obsessive, a patient reader will be rewarded with a clear understanding of the political and personal factors that guided Britain's rule over HK. Especially enlightening are the detailed descriptions of Governors' personalities, management styles, and familiarity with China that help explain the successes and failures of their time in office, as well as how different Tory/Whig/Liberal governments in London had different goals for the city. It's a shame that he doesn't extend the same level of detail to more recent Hong Kong history as Tsang does, including the Sino-British Handover negotiations and Patten's last governorship, but this limitation is understandable given the book's publication date (1993 and 1997 editions).

The balancing act between the constantly changing interests of the local expatriate community, local Chinese community, neighboring Chinese authorities, the British government in London, and the individual men "on-the-spot" running Hong Kong is a recurring theme when describing the colonial government's actions. For example, we see how British imperial strategy, Hongkongers' early distrust of Western practices, the transient nature of the Chinese community, and political necessity to remain financially independent from London created the "non-interventionist" government culture in Hong Kong that remains influential today. We also see how democratic institutions and culture arose slowly, with limited representation through LegCo, ExCo, the civil service, and the Tung Wah Hospital Board gradually developing as the need for democratic legitimacy grew, but careful of the risks democracy could pose to a colonial power (especially as Nationalism and Communism swept China).

The book really stands out for its wide range of primary sources, which sets it apart from Steve Tsang's book. While this makes the book much lengthier and less efficient at communicating ideas, it also makes some of Welsh's less mainstream ideas more thought-provoking. The best example of this is when discussing the Anglo-Chinese Wars, a term that both Welsh and Tsang prefer to "Opium Wars" due to their perspective that opium was in fact not a major cause of the conflict. While Tsang seems content to relegate the evidence for this to the footnotes, Welsh (perhaps acknowledging his outsider's perspective) supplies almost exhaustively wide-ranging quotations from British politicians, negotiators, merchants, corporate balance sheets, and influential public figures to demonstrate that opium was not a major concern when the war was started or peace negotiated. Opium is found to account for a tiny fraction of the China trade, private correspondence between London and negotiators reveals a readiness to support China's opium ban and reasonable efforts to punish smugglers, and tea, silk, and legal protections for expatriate merchants seem to be far greater concerns to Britain than opium. I'm not a historian so can't speak to the comprehensiveness of Welsh's evidence or the evidence that may exist for the other side, but there's no question that these primary sources give the reader a significantly more nuanced historical perspective than that parroted by the Nationalist and Communist political agenda.

Although Welsh's detailed approach made the book dry at times and difficult to commit to at the start, over time I was struck by how compelling Welsh's narrative style eventually became. Ultimately some interest in Hong Kong is needed to make it an enjoyable read (even though its still an enlightening read for people with broader interests), but Welsh's use of primary evidence and vivid descriptions of key characters' lives do bring his narrative to life. The choice to make the book broadly chronological–whereas Tsang's is organized somewhat chronologically but in themed chapters–also adds a certain narrative suspense. Although Tsang communicates his ideas much more efficiently and to-the-point (his book is maybe a third the length of Welsh, despite covering an even wider timeframe), his book reads more like a textbook while Welsh's reads like the precise, academic writing of a historian actively at work. At the end of the day, Welsh is probably better for those who are patient enough for a more detailed history, prefer copious directly cited primary evidence to summaries, and are especially interested in the colonial government. . more

Above Photo: From

The recent history of Hong Kong doesn’t begin where most Westerners might imagine. It began with the Rothschild’s British East India Company that existed from the early 1700s to nearly 1900, when Rothschild conceived the idea of inflicting opium onto China. The plans had been well-made, with approval from the top. Rothschild had the franchise for growing the opium and David Sassoon received from Queen Victoria herself, the exclusive franchise for distributing the drug in China.

The reason Hong Kong was seized by England, on orders of Queen Victoria, was that Sassoon needed a logistics, warehousing, and distribution base for his opium operations. Similarly, the founding of HSBC, an event requiring permission of the monarch, was for the handling and laundering of Sassoon’s drug money, an expertise in which the bank still specialises today. The standard narrative tells us the HSBC was founded by Scotsman Sir Thomas Sutherland, who wanted a bank operating on “sound Scottish banking principles”, but that’s historical Photoshopping. I don’t know who Sutherland was, but, if he existed at all, he quickly disappeared and his name appears nowhere in a list of directors, executives or officers. The HSBC was never a British or Scottish bank, and it never was and certainly is not now a “Chinese bank”. It was always a Jewish bank and David Sassoon was the Chairman of the Board from its founding. I have copies of the original documents.

Most everything in Hong Kong today has its origin in opium trafficking, in one way or another. Even the famous Peninsula Hotel is owned by the Kadoorie family, one of the famous five families involved in China’s opium trade. And thus began China’s “century of humiliation” and the origins of modern Hong Kong. I now want to digress for a moment to make an important point.

The Americans’ first major attempt at colonisation was with their invasion of the Philippines, after which they forced their language onto that nation and immediately followed with a carefully-chosen selection of false American history, literature and propaganda. They spent decades and countless millions of hours in determining the best way to propagandise an entire nation of people to forget their own past, venerate their present colonial status, and learn to worship the Americans. The same Americans then destroyed and rewrote all Philippine domestic history books to erase from consciousness that nation’s heroes, traditions, cultures, and hopes of freedom from American imperialism. They tried to colonise the souls of the Philippine people, and failed, leaving the country today with almost no culture or traditions, no domestic products (which are a crucial part of a nation’s culture), and having lost all sense of a civilisation.

It is painful to read American commentary on the Philippines today, virtually classifying that nation as a failed state, identifying the lack of progress and apparent absence of social cohesion, and blaming the nation’s culture for these failings. It must surely be obvious to thinking people somewhere that a nation’s culture cannot be over-written without permanently damaging the national psyche in ways that perhaps can never be repaired. As an indication of the deep roots and subtle values embedded in a nation’s culture, it is an axiom that Englishmen claim to be only beginning to understand their French wives after 25 years of marriage. To attempt to forcibly over-write an Italian culture with a German one, or the Chinese with American, would leave a national psyche that is a schizophrenic social mess that might never fix itself. The people would survive, but nothing would be natural or normal to them. In simple terms, they wouldn’t know which way was up, and eventually society would cease to function normally. And yet this is what the Americans so deliberately and unconscionably do to other nations, driven by greed and by their infernal moral superiority fueling their lust for domination. Even worse, the real tragedy is that the Americans have no culture. They attempt to forcibly replace a real cultural heritage of a real nation with a fictional utopian concoction that is entirely fake, superficial and hypocritical, with so-called ‘values’ that the Americans themselves totally ignore in practice. The British did the same with India, which is why we have the schizophrenic mess in that country, Indians not now knowing if they are West or East. Japan avoided this because it remained Japanese and not “American”, as was true for Korea and is true for China today.

From a review of Ethan Watters‘ book, ‘Crazy like us: the globalisation of the American psyche’:

“The most devastating consequence of the spread of American culture across the globe has not been our golden arches or our bomb craters, but our bulldozing of the human psyche itself … In teaching the rest of the world to think like us, we have been homogenizing the way the world goes mad.”

And in his long tome Tragedy and Hope, Carroll Quigley wrote:

“The destructive impact of Western Civilisation upon so many other societies rests on its ability to demoralise their ideological and spiritual culture as much as its ability to destroy them in a material sense with firearms. The Americans specialise in doing both. When one society is destroyed by the impact of another society, the people are left in a debris of cultural elements derived from their own shattered culture as well as from the invading culture. These elements generally provide the instruments for fulfilling the material needs of these people, but they cannot be organised into a functioning society because of the lack of an ideology and spiritual cohesive. Such people either perish or are incorporated as individuals and small groups into some other culture, whose ideology they adopt …”.

Quigley should have more clearly stated that in this process, society itself is destroyed, with no possibility of resurrection.

The British did to the Chinese in Hong Kong precisely as the Americans did to the Philippines: they attempted to colonise the souls of the people, and failed. The major factor underlying many of Hong Kong’s problems and symptoms today, most especially the social and political elements, was this century-long program of cultural genocide that left in its wake a schizophrenic emotional angst, which the US government is today milking for everything it’s worth. The British followed the American path, first forcing the change in national language, then doing their best to force the population of Hong Kong to forget their own past, venerate their colonial status, and learn to worship the British Empire. Few people, and no young people, in Hong Kong today have any knowledge of this part of their history because the British did what the Americans did – they burnt all the history books and re-wrote Hong Kong’s history in an attempt to erase their own sordid past from the consciousness of Hong Kong’s people.

It is heart-breaking to look at Hong Kong today, to see both the cause and the effects, and the existentialist dread that infects that city, the uncertainty, anxiety and fear manifesting itself in American-incited and financed puerile political demonstrations, racism and even hatred of the Mainland Chinese – hatred of their own people, of themselves – the schizophrenic overflow from a century of mostly-failed psychic re-programming. For the sake of cheap political gain, Hong Kong as a whole is being terrorised by the Americans to abandon its own civilisation and national identity and to adopt reprehensibly false American values. The Hongkongnese today have neither awareness nor understanding of what is happening to them while they are being pushed to make choices that will in the end tear them apart emotionally, all to give the Americans a platform from which they can stab at China from underneath.

We can now fast-forward to 1967, the year of Hong Kong’s civil war, though no one wants to call it that, most references reducing it to an “uprising” with the blame levied on Mainland China. It was no such thing. The so-called uprising was a direct result of the cruelty, the oppression, and the savage cultural destruction of the Chinese people. It was the pent-up outrage of a century of humiliation and cultural assault that exploded into an eight-month war that left Hong Kong uncontrollable and with Chinese troops massed at the border to prevent an overflow into the Mainland. Today most people in Hong Kong believe their civil war was merely a ‘disturbance’ created by ‘leftists’ from Mainland China, one of the many lies they’ve been told about their own history.

Prior to 1967, no Chinese in Hong Kong were permitted to attend school, education being for the foreigners and the elite few. Much more, local Chinese, virtually all forcibly in the lower class, were truly treated with contempt. There are many elderly Chinese in Hong Kong today who can tell you of being approached by small white children, being spat upon and called a “dirty yellow dog”. Local Chinese were treated with contempt not only by the British and other foreigners, but by those same few elite Chinese. One of these was Li Ka-Shing, today feted as “Papa Li” and Hong Kong’s richest man. According to documented reports, in 1967 Li approached the workers in his plastic flower factory to inform them their wages would be reduced by 20%, their hours increased by 20%, and various other oppressive maneuvers. According to my documents, Li repeated the maneuver in another factory he owned at the time, these in a circumstance where workers were already expected to work 12 to 14 hours a day without a break. These events were the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Workers refusing to accept the new rules were fired, police arresting many workers refusing to permit goods to leave the factories, these events erupting into violent riots that soon engulfed the entire city and resulted in a civil war. This was not all Li’s fault by any means his actions were merely the detonator but he was nevertheless one part of a huge seething social problem.

Thus, in addition to the forces of cultural disintegration, most of Hong Kong experienced severe economic and labor oppression, producing economic and social unrest that eventually erupted into violent political demonstrations. Factories were burned, police stations bombed, there were widespread transportation and other strikes, street demonstrations and rioting. Buses were torched and government offices were looted and buildings burnt. The colonial government fired thousands of local Chinese staff for participating in the demonstrations. The police forced their way into a union office, arresting many and killing others, leading to more retaliatory violence. The government and foreign media launched a massive media campaign blaming Mainland China for the unrest.

The 1967 civil war was widely seen as a watershed in Hong Kong’s history, which forced the colonial government to introduce sweeping social reforms, especially on education and social welfare, the Governor finally admitting there was “much needed to be done in Hong Kong”, and later the British Colonial Secretary conceding that “there would never have been any reform” without the civil war against the foreigners and the Hong Kong elite. The insurrection forced the British colonial administration to provide – for the first time – the opportunity for nine years of school education for local Chinese, and amended the labor law to reduce the maximum working hours for women and children to (only) 57 hours per week. It should be noted the reforms did not include political items there was never any “democracy” for the Chinese in Hong Kong, nor had the British ever contemplated such.

Fast-Forward to 2019

Hong Kong today has two major problems:

The first, as Martin Jacques pointed out so well in a recent article, Hong Kong has never had an efficient or independent government, nor an administration structure meant to manage a large modern city. It was entirely a colonial government designed to carry out and enforce orders from London, and it remains thus today. But London is gone and China’s efforts to improve the situation are viciously condemned by the West as interference and ‘removing freedoms’. This colonial government is effectively hamstrung because the political environment in Hong Kong was created specifically for the oligarchy, created by either opium money or by looting the public, and they do so today with the protection of the so-called “opposition” in the government who refuse all attempts to make Hong Kong a more human city and more affordable for residents. From this, the city is suffering most of its social problems.

As one example, any attempt to use vacant land for affordable housing is killed by this opposition who have been bought by the few land developers, resulting in home ownership being impossible for young people, the smallest home of perhaps 20 square meters costing US$ one million. Hong Kong is the only city I know where tens of thousands of people literally live in dog cages of two square meters, stacked three or four high in warehouses, many housing the very elderly or mothers with young children, and yet forced to pay as much as US$200 per month rent for squalid conditions with no toilets or cooking facilities. Virtually all the infrastructure and much of the retail landscape, is owned by only a few families who take advantage to unconscionably gouge the residents. The reports of the brutal treatment and effective slavery of Philippino nannies and housekeepers, are sufficient to make normal humans cringe. Andre Vltchek wrote in a recent article that poverty rates in Hong Kong are high, and that the city suffers from corruption and savage capitalism. So true on both counts. He wrote that the contrast between Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong is shocking. Also true. People, especially young people, in Hong Kong feel they have no future, and they are right. But instead of looking to the only source of their salvation in the Mainland, they are turning to the source of their problems, the Americans. Thus, for them, “no future” is guaranteed.

In the West, we read media reports that Hong Kong has a rule of law that puts to shame everyone in Asia including China, Japan and Singapore. If only that were true. Some basic civil protections may be fine, but the picture is very different with corporations freely looting the civil population. Hong Kong is a Wild-West corporate town with the most brutal form of capitalism, where the Robber Barons have always ruled and where most fortunes made were, and still are, either illegitimate or inhumane. Here are a few examples from different sectors of Hong Kong business.

A prominent Hong Kong land developer constructed some luxury apartment buildings that were greatly hyped and overpriced. Prospective buyers were comforted by evidence that much of the project had already sold out at those levels and that the prices would soon be even higher. Unfortunately, the sales were all fake. The developer had “sold” many of the flats to friends and acquaintances on the understanding that they had no liability and that the purchases would be unwound as innocent buyers took the bait. But no problem, at least not for the developer.

One of Hong Kong’s more prominent citizens owns a mobile phone company that attracted many new customers by giving a “free” mobile phone to anyone over 16 with an HK ID card. The cries of complaint were immediately almost deafening, subscribers receiving huge bills with no information on how the charges were assessed, and no copy of a contract to determine the fees. Eventually the matter ended in court, the many plaintiffs depending on Hong Kong’s famous “rule of law” to protect them. The courts repeatedly ordered the company to provide each customer with a copy of the contract so they could know the basis for the charges and fees. After years of delay and repeatedly ignored court orders, each subscriber finally received a contract, the document shrunk to a type size so small that all 4 pages were printed on one side of a piece of A-4 paper, and on grey paper with pink ink. Totally unreadable by man or machine. Back in court, the company claimed it was “just trying to save trees”. To my best knowledge, that was the end of the matter.

Authorities investigated Richard Li (the son of Li Ka-Shing) in his bid to buy out PCCW, Hong Kong’s leading phone carrier. A judge called his takeover deal “nothing less than dishonesty”. According to Hong Kong law, a majority of voters is necessary for these bids, but Li had no majority. News reports claimed a senior member of Li’s buy-out group instructed a manager at Fortis Insurance Asia (a firm once controlled by Li) to distribute 500,000 shares to 500 of the company’s employees who then voted in favour of the takeover, tipping the balance for the deal to go through. According to the same reports, neither Mr. Li, nor his company, nor PCCW, nor Fortis, nor any of Fortis’ executives had any knowledge of any of this.

Nathan Road is perhaps the most famous and well-known of all Hong Kong’s shopping and tourist areas, but the criminality of this area has been legendary for decades, with hundreds of thousands of tourists and visitors badly cheated every year. These truths about Nathan Road are available even on the Hong Kong government’s own tourism website, with stories that sometimes are heart-breaking. You purchase an expensive new computer or mobile phone and the clerk asks you to pay with cash to preserve your huge “discount”. He then goes into the storage room to get your item but you become alarmed and ask for help when he doesn’t return after 20 minutes, only to be told that no staff member fits the description you provide, and the store has no idea who took your money. You buy an expensive new camera, take the box back to your hotel and discover it contains a cheap knock-off that is worth perhaps 10% of the price you paid. Of course, you return to the shop to complain, but the owner tells you there’s nothing he can do because you could have made the exchange yourself and are trying to cheat him. But it wouldn’t have mattered because only the casing looks real the insides are cheap junk. Numerous people on Nathan Road pretend to be tailors offering large discounts on Hong Kong’s legendary high-quality suits. In a room containing expensive fabrics and photo catalogues, you select your dream suit for which you must pay in advance, and which will be delivered to your hotel prior to your departure. But the suit delivered just before you rush to the airport will be a poorly-fitting $100 piece of polyester and, if you have time to complain, your “tailor” is nowhere to be seen. The Hong Kong police could shut down all of this in a day, if they wanted. But they don’t want.

Today, China is everyone’s favorite whipping boy for copied or fake products, but these began their lives in Hong Kong, not in Mainland China and, while the factories may indeed be in China, the owners are now and have always been in Hong Kong, shifting their factories across the border for easier access to lower-cost labor when Hong Kong reverted to China. Even today it is easily possible to buy all manner of fake and copied Western products on the streets in Hong Kong, while the Western media have not a word of criticism. The hypocrisy is deafening.

It’s worthy of special note that foreigners – at least some foreigners – can loot Hong Kong citizens even more rapaciously than the local oligarchy. China, due to its oversight of its own money and economy, suffered little from the 2008 US financial meltdown. Unfortunately, our “free, democratic, and American” Hong Kong didn’t fare quite as well. A great many Hong Kong residents were cheated out of their life savings invested in bonds issued by Lehman Brothers, which were rated AAA+ by the US rating agencies, billions of US dollars worth flooding Asia and particularly Hong Kong. The US FED and the Treasury Department were fully aware of Lehman’s insolvency, the so-called ‘international bankers and investors’ dumping these bonds while plans were in progress to permit Lehman to file for bankruptcy. It was not an accident that Hong Kong citizens incurred such massive losses, the famous ‘rule of law’ nowhere to be seen. The Western media totally ignored the story. There were no videos on CNN of the elderly protesting in front of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange building, no stories in the New York Times praising these Chinese seeking justice.

The second major problem is that (under the same oligarchy control) Hong Kong is a Major Operations Base for literally countless thousands of Americans and others tasked with irritating Mainland China, destabilising the country, and blackening its name on the world stage. If people in Hong Kong had any idea of the extent of US meddling, influence and control – and financing – of their political processes if they had any idea of the extent to which they are blind puppets whose political strings are being pulled by the US government and the CIA, they would likely die of shame. It is truly unfortunate that most people in Hong Kong fail to recognise the external and foreign stimuli behind street protests, candlelight vigils, and so much more, being used as destabilisation entities targeted at Mainland China.

Hong Kong has literally hundreds of US-sponsored NGOs, plus online media, newspapers, university departments, foreign reporters, stabbing at China from underneath, all with the purpose of destabilising China and overthrowing its government. There are many dozens of Western-oriented political and propaganda organisations, staffed by foreigners and indoctrinated Hongkongnese who constantly denigrate China and push the US political and ideological agenda. To those of us resident in the Mainland, it sometimes appears that Hong Kong has been transformed into one big US war club to beat China into submission. China’s ‘reform and open’ policy has legalized foreign infiltration into every aspect of the HK economy and society, allowing Hong Kong, now officially under Chinese sovereignty, to continue to be an anti-China foreign base and a hot-bed safe haven for promoting unrest on the mainland. From the NED website alone, we can document tens of millions of dollars spent each year in Hong Kong for these purposes. The NED also spends millions of US dollars in attempts to recast its own imperial political ambitions as “protection” for the human rights of HK residents and a benevolent wish for what it terms ‘democratic representation’. It also uses Hong Kong as a base for an enormous amount of political campaigning meant to draw local HK and international attention to the political changes it hopes to effect in Hong Kong, by disguising and presenting them as human rights issues.

The US attempts to take the lead in all public debate within Hong Kong, dictating in advance the terms and conditions within which this debate will take place. The NED carries out so-called “public opinion research” and initiates organised “public debates” on Hong Kong’s political system, centering on US-dictated models of constitutional reform, with attempts to propagandise these to the Hong Kong population and try to force a consensus that these are the only models acceptable to Hong Kong residents. The NED publishes discussion papers and other information, presenting this US-selected content as the only model relevant for Hong Kong, thereby pushing to the side the wishes and aims of China’s central government. Other branches and agencies of the US government are already spending many millions of dollars propagandising Hong Kong residents, creating NGOs, organising protest groups and other mechanisms to create potentially serious disruptions in Hong Kong in order to force political changes that would benefit US foreign policy interests.

The range of interference is unimaginable to an average Westerner. George Soros funds the so-called China Media Project, run by David Bandurski at Hong Kong University, tasked with trashing Mainland China. It was Bandurski who fabricated the stories of China’s “50-cent army”, claiming China’s government had hired 280,000 people who were paid US.50 for each favorable internet post about China. The game succeeded for years until someone published screen shots of the Israel government actually and literally offering all Jewish university students US.50 for every post made that favored Israel. At that point, Bandurski’s false claims disappeared overnight. As another example, the US government has sponsored several ‘speakers bureaux’ with an imaginatively seditious nature, and staffed by former US diplomatic and White House personnel. The plan is to recruit middle-level Chinese officials and businessmen to profit from invitations as speakers at a multitude of events. Given their lack of experience, the bureau managers provide not only appropriate topics but a handy outline of the speeches, replete with not-too-veiled demands for the removal of China’s government system, for the abolition of China’s SOEs, for the fire sales of China’s infrastructure to European bankers, and much more. If successful, the US will have thousands of unwitting Chinese traveling their country while selling their own countrymen the American road to destruction.

These plans involve not only propaganda but violence. We have seen plenty of that in Hong Kong in recent months, but there was more we haven’t seen. It wasn’t reported in the Western media, but during the ‘Occupy Central’ demonstrations several years ago, Hong Kong police discovered caches of bomb-making equipment that included very high-explosive materials, and masks bearing the likeness of Guy Fawkes, who was behind a failed plot to blow up Britain’s Parliament. At the same location, police also found maps of the Wan Chai and Admiralty neighborhoods, locations of the city legislature and government headquarters and also the Mainland Chinese Army base. Officials concluded at the time that the CIA had produced a small core of fanatics and supplied them with materials and instruction for committing grave acts of violence.

China’s wish several years ago to include what the West termed “communist propaganda” in Hong Kong schools, was more an attempt to introduce the truth of Hong Kong’s history to the people of Hong Kong, the resulting demonstrations against this effort clearly having been directed from outside, and for obvious reasons. The 2019 protests were triggered initially by Mainland China’s request for an extradition bill with Hong Kong, a request hardly unusual since all nations have extradition agreements between states and provinces. The reason is that if someone commits a crime in New York and then runs to Virginia, the NYC police have no authority in that state and cannot simply cross the border to search and arrest, but must rely on local law enforcement. Hence, the extradition agreements. Further, China has several good reasons for wanting such agreements with Hong Kong and Taiwan. For one, more than a few Mainland Chinese businessmen or government officials have embezzled money or defrauded investors, then fled to Hong Kong to live the good life free of repatriation fears. Understandably, China would like those individuals brought back home to stand trial. A similar problem, and perhaps larger, is that more than a few Hong Kong residents have travelled to the Mainland, committed fairly large numbers of imaginative and not-so-imaginative crimes, primarily large-scale fraud but also including espionage and murder, then fled back to Hong Kong, again out of reach of the Mainland Chinese police.

There is however a third category, one not mentioned in the media, that was the likely cause of the US so ardently fanning the flames for this latest series of riots. The Americans have a huge contingent in Hong Kong (about 80,000 people, few of whom are businessmen), beginning with the US Consulate but extending very much farther with the media, the NED, and the entire alphabet soup of US-based NGOs, George Soros’ Hong Kong Media Project, and many more, mostly but not all CIA-funded, on a permanent mission to stab at Mainland China from its underbelly of Hong Kong. Much of what these people do, is illegal, against HK law, Mainland China law, and international law, but they are protected in Hong Kong by US government pressure and, without an extradition treaty, they cannot be sent to China and be brought to trial. The Americans needed for their own sake to kill that extradition bill, and they succeeded. The enormous violence they instigated will likely ensure that bill won’t be introduced again for a long time, if ever.

I will say that Hong Kong was one of my favorite cities 20 or 30 years ago. At the time, I thought it a great city and full of life. Those days are gone. I have been to Hong Kong 50 or more times, the experience quality slowly degrading until now it is mostly unpleasant, and especially so for Mainland Chinese who are very often insulted, abused, spat upon, and sometimes assaulted, by the same young students today seeking “democracy and freedom” by torching subway stations.

A Concise History of Hong Kong (Critical Issues in History) (Critical Issues in World and International History)

Honestly, I picked up this book only because of the translation controversy. I have been reading books in more details than a "concise history", so I am not expecting much from this book. I am more interested in why a pro-PRC press is interested in offering a Chinese version.

Surprisingly this book is written with much more depth than i had thought. Granted, covering history of Hong Kong since 1841 in about 200 pages has to be nothing but "concise" as the title suggest. This book, however, is not Honestly, I picked up this book only because of the translation controversy. I have been reading books in more details than a "concise history", so I am not expecting much from this book. I am more interested in why a pro-PRC press is interested in offering a Chinese version.

Surprisingly this book is written with much more depth than i had thought. Granted, covering history of Hong Kong since 1841 in about 200 pages has to be nothing but "concise" as the title suggest. This book, however, is not a dull record of events after one another. It is logically organized in different periods, mostly focusing on the people, rather than the political changes in those periods. You can read analyses about the what kind of people live in HK and how they live their lives and what they think. This book includes lots of recent research results. The references are fairly recent. Many materials, backed by solid evidences, challenge the Chinese nationalist propaganda, that PRC has been tirelessly spreading in the past few decades.

It was fun reading this book. I couldn't put it down until I finished it the day after I started. Highly recommend it to anyone interested in Hong Kong history but haven't read any about it. I also find the bibliography helpful as I want to dig deeper on certain events, such as the HK in WWII and the 1967 riot.

Why is a pro-PRC press interested in owning the translation? It becomes clear that by omitting some of the most sensible comments towards the PRC and mistranslating some, especially its role in HK's democratic progress, the manipulated Chinese version can potentially be used as the nationalist propaganda against the recent sentiment that PRC is worse off governing than the highly missed British. This book paints British colonial government as a rational yet self-serving government not without mistakes. It also mentions the dark side in HK's golden era between the 70's and 1997. The imperialist British theme is consistent with the national education that the PRC controlled HK government tried to push to public school students last year. . more

Keyword: History of Hong Kong, Political, Social, Economic Development, Hong Kong under world history context

Caroll&aposs book on history of Hong Kong has been a popular source for layman to get to know more about Hong Kong&aposs past. It is a comprehensive account of Hong Kong&aposs precolonial history to post-1997, which includes political, economic and social development of the city. Furthermore, Caroll has placed Hong Kong under the context of world history, which allows not only allows better understa Keyword: History of Hong Kong, Political, Social, Economic Development, Hong Kong under world history context

Caroll's book on history of Hong Kong has been a popular source for layman to get to know more about Hong Kong's past. It is a comprehensive account of Hong Kong's precolonial history to post-1997, which includes political, economic and social development of the city. Furthermore, Caroll has placed Hong Kong under the context of world history, which allows not only allows better understanding of the various decisions made by the various parties, but also provide further insight of the recent developments in the city.

1. Colonial Rule in Hong Kong

To many in Hong Kong, British rule has different meanings. For Beijing and their supporters, the colonial rule is a period of shame and humiliation, while for their dissidents, it symbolizes the prosperity and progress of the city that might never return. In this book, Caroll has taken a more neutral stance towards the rights and wrongs of the colonial government (and of course, the British government who supervised the operation of the colony). He acknowledges that Hong Kong has built its success based on the infrastructure and system that the British has established, but also points out that many of Hong Kong's current problems have rooted from British rule as well.

1.1 Socio-economic Development: Racial Discrimination

In the early years of colonial period, the British has incorporated racial discriminatory policies into their ruling agenda. Part of the reason is to maintain the superior status of the European community, but the main part is due to distrust between the expatriates and local Chinese community, especially after the E Sing Bakery Incident. Even after the local Chinese have gradually become a main contributor to the local economy, such discriminatory policies were not eradicated until 1970s.

The impact of racial discrimination is more far-reaching than what it looks like at that time. As most expatriates maintained superior positions in the colony, most of them stayed away from the local Chinese community, which made up the majority of the population. However, most of the senior government positions were occupied by the expatriates. As a result, during the early colonial period, most governors have not respond directly to people's wishes, albeit to the lobbying of expatriates and local Chinese elites. Though the later governors were more willing to respond to local's needs, such governance style has remained until today as most senior officials were former members of the colonial government.

1.2 Socio-economic Development: Social Welfare and Over-emphasis on Commerce

As Caroll stated, the British government had been reluctant to spend resources on Hong Kong, hence the government seldom provide for the security of its Chinese subject during the early colonial period. Most of the time, the government relied on social welfare groups and religious organizations to provide social security for the local Chinese. On the other hand, as most Chinese were refugees to escape from the turbulent situation from Mainland China, they have not place much complaint against the colonial government as Hong Kong is relatively much more stable and safe compared to situation in China.

As Chinese entrepreneurs assumed a larger role in the local economy, the colonial government has placed higher reliance on them to rule the local Chinese. Some of these people has indeed prompted the colonial government to invest more on education, hospital and social welfare. But it is not until 1970s to 1980s, partly because of the failure to guard Hong Kong from Japanese invasion during WWII, as well as the concept of "welfare state" gradually became prominent in Britain, the colonial government became willing to invest more on social welfare.

The practice of relying on local elites and businessmen for policy advice remains in the HKSAR government, as they are a major stakeholder in the local economy. However, as the business sector has their own agenda, their interests usually contradict with the local majority, which not only result in socio-economic problems such as income inequality, but also stagnation in democratization in Hong Kong.

1.3 Socio-political Development: Construction of Local Identity

The British has not cultivated much sense of loyalty to the British flag during their rule in Hong Kong. Rather, they have tried to develop a sense of unique Chineseness in their Chinese subjects that are different from the Mainland China. Following advises from Chinese elites, the British has emphasized on traditional Chinese values in school curricular, mainly to avoid local people from identifying with Chinese nationalism and patriotism that are prevalent during the 20th Century.
Coupled with the economic success during the 70s to 80s, Hong Kong Chinese started to feel that they are a distinct group of Chinese that were different from their counterparts in the Mainland. In addition, as the British has not request any political loyalty from the local Chinese, many Hong Kongers found hard to accept patriotic practices and ideals as the Mainland Chinese does. The identification of local Chinese as "Hong Kongers", which represents different values from the Mainland, became one of the main factor for the Mainland-Hong Kong Conflict in recent years.

2. Hong Kong under the Sino-British Relationship

Hong Kong's economic success has been mainly due to its unique status as a British colony with close proximity to the Chinese Mainland. For China, the city had been the major point of trade and foreign exchange, as well as the window to the outside world. It has also been a place that allowed various political activities from Mainland China and other countries. For Britain, Hong Kong has initially been acquired for its natural deep-water harbour to serve for trade and military purpose. It was also a base for the British to manage their strategic and trade interest in East Asia. Hence, Hong Kong's fate was tied closely to the changes in China and Sino-British relationship, and Hong Kong government had put great effort into maintaining balance between the China and Britain.

More important than economy, Hong Kong's political development was even more of a sensitive issue between China and Britain. After WWII, the colonial government believed that the failure to defend Hong Kong mainly due to distrusting the local Chinese, hence had wanted to push for more political representation of the Chinese community in the Legislative Council. However, worrying that such movement would provoke the PRC government, the reform was not supported by the British government. The 1967 disturbance by the local leftists had also convinced the colonial government that more representation in the government might make Hong Kong vulnerable to influence from Communist China. However, the tension had not been high until the Sino-British negotiation regarding Hong Kong's future political status started in the late 1980s. The Sino-British Joint Declaration had been signed under distrust between both governments. Furthermore, as many of Hong Kong's population had came to the city after PRC establishment, the majority of the city's people had preferred to British rule, especially after the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989. To comfort the local people, on one hand, the CCP had made promises to uphold the "One Country, Two System" principle and let the city rule by its own people. But on the other hand, the CCP had a fundamental distrust towards Hong Kong, especially many Hong Kongers (and prodemocratic leaders) had sided with demonstrators in the 1989 democracy movement. Such distrust had resulted in CCP restricting control of Hong Kong's political, economic and social spectrum over the years, which aroused worries and anxiety of the local of loss of freedom and rule of law that they had been enjoying in the past. The fundamental distrust between the CCP and local people had been the main reason behind the conflicts and controversy of every Mainland-related issue in the city.

Starting from 2012, Hong Kong had been undergoing series of movements to protest against CCP's interference with local politics and urging for democratization promised by CCP. Though Hong Kong and China had experienced much changes recent years, the conflict had been rooted in the colonial history of the city. It is only through reading the history, that one could understand the events happening in Hong Kong. . more

192-A Concise History of Hong Kong-John Carroll-History-2007

"A concise history of Hong Kong" (A concise history of Hong Kong), first published in Hong Kong in 2007. It explores the history of Hong Kong from the early 1800s to the handover in 1997.

High Mark (John Carroll). Received a PhD from Harvard University. He is currently a professor in the Department of History, University of Hong Kong. He is a Hong Kong historian, specializing in t
192-A Concise History of Hong Kong-John Carroll-History-2007

"A concise history of Hong Kong" (A concise history of Hong Kong), first published in Hong Kong in 2007. It explores the history of Hong Kong from the early 1800s to the handover in 1997.

High Mark (John Carroll). Received a PhD from Harvard University. He is currently a professor in the Department of History, University of Hong Kong. He is a Hong Kong historian, specializing in the study of modern Chinese history, Hong Kong history and Asian colonial history. Representative works: "Guangzhou Day: British Life and Death in China", "A Brief History of Hong Kong", "The Edge of Empire: Hong Kong's Chinese Elites and British Colonists", etc.

Part of the catalog
1. Hong Kong in the early days of colonial rule
2. Early colonial society
3. Colonialism and Nationalism
4. The years between the two wars
5. War and Revolution
6. New Hong Kong
7. Become a Hong Konger
8. Countdown to Seven
9. After 1997: Hong Kong in the post-colonial era

Some important events in Hong Kong
1. In 111 BC, the Nanyue Kingdom was destroyed by Emperor Wu of Han
2. From the 1200s to the 1300s, more and more people moved to Hong Kong during the Yuan Dynasty
3. From the 1600s to the 1800s, Hong Kong became more closely connected with other parts of China
4. At the beginning of the 19th century, the pirate Zhang Baozi used Hong Kong Island as a base
5. In 1834, Lloyd-Lord-urged the British to occupy Hong Kong Island
6. In 1839, Lin Zexu vigorously banned opium, and the first Opium War broke out
7. In 1841, Britain claimed the sovereignty of Hong Kong Island under the "Cross-nosed Covenant", and the law declared Hong Kong a free port
8. In 1842, the Office of the British Commissioner of Commerce moved from Macau to Hong Kong, and the Treaty of Nanjing was signed
9. In 1843, China and Britain exchanged contracts on the "Nanjing Treaty"
10. In 1844, Robert Martin, Secretary of the Colonial Treasury, urged the British government to abandon Hong Kong
11. In 1847, the Wenwu Temple was completed
12. In 1849, a gold mine was discovered in California, USA
13. In the 1850s, Sino-British relations were troubled by the entry of British people into Guangzhou City
14. From 1851 to 1864, the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom rose
15. In 1856, the Second Opium War began
16. In 1857, five thousand Chinese left Hong Kong at the order of the Governor of Guangdong and Guangxi Ye Mingchen ( ch ēn). The poisoned bread case of the Yusheng Office occurred and the British and French forces occupied Guangzhou
17. In 1858, a large number of Chinese left Hong Kong, the "Tianjin Treaty" was signed, and 20,000 Chinese left Hong Kong
18. In 1860, the "Beijing Treaty" was signed
19. In 1861, the British occupied Kowloon in accordance with the "Beijing Treaty"
20. In 1862, the Central Academy was founded
21. In 1864, the HSBC Bank was established
22. In 1866, the regiment defense bureau was established
23. In 1867, the "Infectious Diseases Ordinance" was passed
24. In 1869, the Preparatory Committee of Donghua Hospital was established
25. At the end of the 1870s, the custom of keeping maidservants caused controversy
26. In 1882, Baoliang Bureau was formally established
27. In 1884, shipyard workers protested against French aggression against China
28. In 1887, the Hong Kong College of Western Medicine was founded to recruit Chinese
29. In 1888, the Peak Tram was opened to traffic
30. In 1889, the "Women and Children Protection Ordinance" replaced the "Infectious Diseases Ordinance"
31. In 1894, the plague broke out in Hong Kong
32. In 1896, the Zhonghua Hall was established
33. The 1898 "Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory" was signed, China You reformers Kang Wei fled to Hong Kong after the Hundred Days Reform failed to resist the British occupation of the residents of Kam Tin, New Territories
34. In 1899, Britain officially occupied the New Territories
35. In 1901, revolutionary Yang Quyun (qú) was assassinated by Qing court killers in Hong Kong
36. In 1904, the top of the mountain was reserved for European residents
37. In 1905, the boycott of American goods
38. In 1908, in the boycott of Japanese goods, the British government ordered the banning of Hong Kong opium smoking houses
39. In 1910, the Kowloon-Canton Railway was completed
40. In 1911, the Xinhai Revolution broke out in China
41. In 1912, the Republic of China was established and the University of Hong Kong was formally established. Governor Mei Han was assassinated, and the colonial government prohibited the use of Chinese currency
42. In 1913, Hong Kong Governor Mei Hanli passed the Education Law
43. In 1914, Hong Kong sent Chinese workers to the Western Front during the First World War
44. In 1917, the anti-storage movement
45. In 1918, the Peak District Act prohibited non-Europeans from living in the Taiping Mountains, a fire broke out at the Happy Valley Racecourse, and epidemic cerebrospinal meningitis broke out
46. In 1919, parts of Cheung Chau were reserved for vacations by British and American missionaries. Rice grabbing broke out. The May Fourth Movement in China led to a boycott in Hong Kong
47. In 1920, machine workers went on strike
48. In 1922, the seamen went on strike
49. In 1925, the province and Hong Kong went on strike
50. In 1926, Zhou Shouchen was appointed as the first Chinese member of the Council of Parliament
51. In 1931, Japan invaded the three eastern provinces
52. In 1936, the Municipal Council was established
53. In 1937, Japan completely invaded China
54. In 1938, Hong Kong declared its neutrality
55. In 1941, Japanese assets in Hong Kong were frozen, the Japanese army invaded Hong Kong, and Hong Kong Governor Yang Muqi surrendered to Lieutenant Takashi Sakai
56. In 1942, residents of the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Netherlands were arrested. The Japanese authorities announced that everyone without a place or job must leave Hong Kong. The Japanese authorities tried to use the Chinese People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Association to win over local social leaders. The National Government contacts the United Kingdom
57. In 1944, the Hong Kong Planning Group was established in Britain to coordinate post-war recovery issues
58. In 1945, the Colonial Ministry, the Hong Kong Planning Group and the Chinese Association considered implementing an administrative reform plan in Hong Kong. Rear Admiral Harcourt ( qu è) accepted the surrender of Japan on behalf of Britain and China, and the government removed economic control
59. In 1946, the residence regulations on Cheung Chau and the Peak were abolished
60. Yang Muqi announced the Hong Kong political reform plan
61. In 1947, the British government approved the Yang Muqi plan "in principle" during the Chinese Civil War
62. In 1948, the British government announced its intention to retain Hong Kong
63. In 1949, in the "Amethyst" incident, local organizations made a complaint to Governor Grantham, the Hong Kong government promulgated the Emergency Public Safety Law, the People's Republic of China was established, tram strikes, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and the United States were involved Disputes between China Airlines and Central Air Transport Company
64. In 1950, the United States and the United Nations imposed an embargo on China during the Korean War, and the Hong Kong government restricted the immigration of mainland residents
65. In 1952, after a condolence mission from Guangzhou was barred from entering the country, a riot broke out in Kowloon. The British cabinet planned to introduce administrative reforms in Hong Kong. Lord Littleton told the House of Commons that any major reforms were inappropriate
66. In 1953, there was a big fire in the Shixiawei log house area
67. In 1955, the passenger plane "Kashmir Princess" carrying Chinese officials and foreign journalists exploded after taking off from Kai Tak Airport
68. In 1956, violent clashes broke out among pro-China and pro-Taiwan people
69. In 1957, the United States reached a secret agreement with China
70. In 1966, the fare increase of the Star Ferry caused a commotion
71. In 1967, local leftists launched a riot
72. In 1972, Huang Hua, the Chinese representative to the United Nations, said that the Chinese government would resolve Hong Kong’s political status when “conditions are ripe”. The landslide caused 250 deaths and the United Nations General Assembly removed Hong Kong from the list of colonies
73. In 1974, the Independent Commission Against Corruption was established
74. The 1975, a large number of Vietnamese refugees arriving, Queen Elizabeth II's visit to Hong Kong
75. In 1977, thousands of police officers marched to the headquarters of the Police Service and the Independent Commission Against Corruption
76. In 1979, Governor MacLehose visited Beijing
77. In 1980, MacLehose announced the cancellation of the CCP policy
78. In 1981, the British Parliament passed the British Nationality (Hong Kong) Act
79. In 1981, Deng Xiaoping told former British Prime Minister Heath that Hong Kong would become a special administrative region after 1997 and be governed by Hong Kong people. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher arrived in Beijing to discuss with Deng Xiaoping about the future of Hong Kong after 1997
80. In 1983, Deng Xiaoping announced that China would resume the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997. The Sino-British talks hit the rocks. China declared that if an agreement was not reached on the return of Hong Kong's sovereignty to China before September 1984, it would unilaterally announce a plan to withdraw Hong Kong
81. In 1984, a taxi driver riot occurred in Mong Kok. The Chinese government invited senior members of the Executive Council to visit Beijing to formulate laws for the implementation of indirect elections for the Legislative Council in 1985. The Hong Kong government issued a policy document "White Paper on Representative Government: The Role of Representative Government in Hong Kong" Further development", Mrs. Thatcher and Zhao Ziyang signed the "Sino-British Joint Declaration" in Beijing
82. In 1985, the "Joint Declaration" exchanged approvals, the Basic Law Drafting Committee was established, the Basic Law Advisory Committee was established, and the Legislative Council held its first indirect election
83. In 1986, Hong Kong joined the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, Queen Elizabeth II visited Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong, and Governor Youde died in Beijing
84. In 1987, the Hong Kong government announced that the Kowloon Walled City would be demolished before 1997, and Wilson arrived in Hong Kong as the Governor
85. In 1988, the Hong Kong government issued a policy document "White Paper: The Future Development of Representative Government", announcing that direct elections to the Legislative Council were late in 1991. The permanent office of the Sino-British Liaison Group was opened in Hong Kong. Two of the 57 seats in the Legislative Council Sixteen seats were elected by indirect elections, and Governor Wilson Wilson visited Beijing
86. In 1989, the second draft of the Basic Law was promulgated, Hu Yaobang passed away, and the Chinese government declared Beijing-martial law. Official members of the Executive and Legislative Councils demanded that half of the seats in the legislature before 1997 be directly elected, and more than one million Hong Kong people In protest against the Tiananmen Square incident, the government warned Hong Kong people not to interfere in mainland politics. The British government rejected the request of the Executive and Legislative Councils to grant 3.25 million British passport holders the right of abode in the UK. The Hong Kong government refused to request political asylum in Hong Kong. Chinese swimmer Yang Yang’s request for repatriation, Governor Wilson Wilson announced the port and airport development strategy plan, the public consultation on the second draft of the Basic Law ended, and the British government announced the issuance of British national passports with the right of abode to 50,000 families ;
87. In 1990, Governor Wilson Wilson visited Beijing. Officials from Britain and China reached a secret agreement on the structure of the Legislative Council. The first draft of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance was announced. The Hong Kong government announced direct elections to the Legislative Council in 1991 and the Hong Kong Bill of Rights. The final draft of the Regulation was announced. The Chinese government officially approved the Basic Law. The Hong Kong government insisted that the new airport plan does not need to be approved by the United Kingdom or the Chinese government. The British Secretary of State for Hong Kong affairs, Lord Kathanes, visited Hong Kong. The Hong Kong government announced that it would build a new building with public funds. The first phase of the airport project began with the application for British citizenship under the British Nationality (Hong Kong) Act
88. The 1991, Governor Wilson to Beijing to discuss with Chinese officials count the new airport plan, the British Foreign Secretary Douglas HURD reach to Beijing to discuss the new airport project with Chinese officials, "the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance" promulgated, Governor Wilson to London Discuss the issue of the new airport with Prime Minister Ma Zhuoan and other senior officials. . more


Hong Kong lacks a river system of any scope, the only exception being in the north where the Sham Chun (Shenzhen) River, which forms the boundary between Guangdong and Hong Kong, flows into Deep Bay after collecting a number of small tributaries. Most of the streams are small, and they generally run perpendicular to the northeast-southwest trend of the terrain. The construction of reservoirs and their catchment systems has reduced the amount of fresh water available downstream.


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To make peace, China agreed to cede Hong Kong Island to Britain in 1841.

The Kowloon peninsula followed in 1860 after a second Opium War and Britain extended north into the rural New Territories in 1898, leasing the area for 99 years.

British rule

Hong Kong was part of the British empire until 1997, when the lease on the New Territories expired and the entire city was handed back to China.

Under British rule, Hong Kong transformed into a commercial and financial hub boasting one of the world’s busiest harbours.

Anti-colonial sentiment fuelled riots in 1967 which led to some social and political reforms — by the time it was handed back to China, the city had a partially elected legislature and retained an independent judiciary.

Hong Kong boomed as China opened up its economy from the late 1970s, becoming a gateway between the ascendant power and the rest of the world.

Return to China

After lengthy negotiations, including between Deng Xiaoping and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the future handover of Hong Kong was signed off by the two sides in 1984.

The Sino-British declaration said Hong Kong would be a “Special Administrative Region” of China, and would retain its freedoms and way of life for 50 years after the handover date on July 1, 1997.

While initial fears of a crackdown did not materialise, concerns have grown in recent years that China is tightening its grip.

Democratic reforms promised in the handover deal have not materialised and young activists calling for self-determination or independence have emerged.


Beginning of trade Edit

China was the main supplier of its native tea to the British, whose annual domestic consumption reached 30,050,000 pounds (13,600,000 kg) in 1830, an average of 1.04 pounds (0.47 kg) per head of population. [3]

From the British economic standpoint, Chinese tea was a crucial item since it provided massive wealth for the taipans—foreign (especially British) businessmen in China—while the duty on tea accounted for 10% of the government's income. [1] Some of the earliest items sold to China in exchange for tea were British clocks, watches and musical boxes known as "sing-songs". These were not enough to compensate for the trade imbalance and the insistence by the Chinese that they be paid for in silver. Opium exports from India after 1830 provided the silver needed to balance the trade. Lin Zexu, a special Chinese commissioner appointed by the Qing Daoguang Emperor, wrote a letter to Queen Victoria in 1839 taking a stance against the acceptance of opium in trade. He confiscated more than 20,000 chests of opium already in Hong Kong, which had already been used years earlier as a transhipment point, and supervised their destruction. [4]

Confrontation Edit

London saw the destruction of British products as an insult and sent the first expeditionary force to the region. The First Opium War (1839–1842) began at the hands of Captain Charles Elliot of the Royal Navy and Capt. Anthony Blaxland Stransham of the Royal Marines. After a series of Chinese defeats, Hong Kong Island was occupied by the British on 20 January 1841. Sir Edward Belcher, aboard HMS Sulphur, landed in Hong Kong on 25 January 1841. [6] Possession Street still exists to mark the event. [6] Commodore Sir Gordon Bremer raised the Union Jack and claimed Hong Kong as a colony on 26 January 1841. [6] He erected naval store sheds there in April 1841. [7] The island was first used by the British as a staging post during the war, and while the East India Company intended to establish a permanent base on the island of Zhoushan, Elliot took it upon himself to claim the island on a permanent basis. The ostensible authority for the occupation was negotiated between Captain Eliot and the Viceroy of Liangguang, the Manchu official Qishan. The Convention of Chuenpi was concluded but had not been recognised by the Qing Dynasty court at Beijing. Subsequently, Hong Kong Island was ceded to Britain in 1842 under the Treaty of Nanking, when the territory became a Crown colony. [8] The Opium War was ostensibly fought to liberalise trade with China. With a base in Hong Kong, British traders, opium dealers, and merchants including Jardine Matheson & Co. and Dent & Co. launched the city which would become the 'free trade' nexus of the East. American opium traders and merchant bankers such as the Russell, Perkins and Forbes families would soon join the trade. On signature of the 1860 Convention of Peking, which marked the end of formal ended hostilities in the Second Opium War (1856–1858), Britain acquired the area south of Boundary Street on the Kowloon Peninsula rent-free under a perpetual lease. Later, in 1898, the Qing government reluctantly agreed to the Convention between Great Britain and China Respecting an Extension of Hong Kong Territory (also known as the Second Convention of Peking) that compelled China to cede a further area north of Boundary Street to the Sham Chun River along with more than two hundred nearby islands. [9] Seen by the British government as vital to safeguard the defensive capabilities of Hong Kong, these areas became collectively known as the New Territories. The 99-year lease would expire at midnight on 30 June, 1997. [8]

Population Edit

When the union flag was raised over Possession Point on 26 January 1841, the population of Hong Kong island was about 6,000, mostly Tanka fishermen and Hakka charcoal burners living in a number of coastal villages. [10] [11] In the 1850s large numbers of Chinese would emigrate from China to Hong Kong due to the Taiping Rebellion. Other events such as floods, typhoons and famine in mainland China would also play a role in establishing Hong Kong as a place to escape the mayhem. According to the census of 1865, Hong Kong had a population of 125,504, of which some 2,000 were Americans and Europeans. [10] In 1914 despite an exodus of 60,000 Chinese fearing an attack on the colony during World War I, Hong Kong's population continued to increase from 530,000 in 1916 to 725,000 in 1925 and 1.6 million by 1941. [12]

Segregation Edit

The establishment of the free port made Hong Kong a major entrepôt from the start, attracting people from China and Europe alike. The society remained racially segregated and polarised due to British colonial policies and attitudes. [1] [13] Despite the rise of a British-educated Chinese upper class by the late 19th century, race laws such as the Peak Reservation Ordinance prevented Chinese from living in elite areas like Victoria Peak. [14] Politically, the majority Chinese population also had little to no official governmental influence throughout much of the early years. There were, however, a small number of Chinese elites that the British governors relied on, including Sir Kai Ho and Robert Hotung. [14] They accepted their place in the Hong Kong hierarchy, and served as main communicators and mediators between the government and the Chinese population. Sir Kai Ho was an unofficial member of the Legislative Council. Robert Hotung wanted Chinese citizens to recognise Hong Kong as the new home after the fall of China's last dynasty in 1911. As a millionaire with financial influence, he emphasised that no part of the demographics was purely indigenous. [15]

Lifestyle Edit

The east portion of Colonial Hong Kong was mostly dedicated to the British filled with race courses, parade grounds, barracks, cricket and polo fields. The west portion was filled with Chinese shops, crowded markets and tea houses. The Hong Kong tea culture began in this period and evolved into yum cha. One of the most common breakfasts was congee with fish and barley. In the mid-19th century many of the merchants would sell silk, jade and consult feng shui to open shops that favoured better spiritual arrangements. [16] Other lower ranked groups like coolies arrived with the notion that hard work would better position them for the future. Due to the commercial success of merchants, boatmen, carters and fishermen there, Hong Kong overtook China's most populous port in Canton. By 1880 Hong Kong's port would handle 27% of the mainland's export and 37% of imports. [1] A British traveller, Isabella Bird, described Hong Kong in the 1870s as a colony filled with comforts and entertainment only a Victorian society would be able to enjoy. Other descriptions mentioned courts, hotels, post offices, shops, city hall complexes, museums, libraries and structures in impressive manner for the era. [1] Many European businessmen went to Hong Kong to do business. They were referred to as tai-pans or "bigshot". One of the more notable Tai-pan hangout spots was the Hong Kong Club at Queen's Road. [1]

Education Edit

In 1861, Frederick Stewart would become the founder of Hong Kong education system bringing Western-style pedagogy to the East. Some [ who? ] have argued that his contribution is the key turning point between the group of Chinese that were able to modernise Hong Kong versus the group that did not in China. The education would bring Western-style [ clarification needed ] finance, science, history, technology into the culture. The father of modern China, Sun Yat-sen was also educated in Hong Kong's Central School. [14]

Law and order Edit

In 1843 the legislative council was established. The governor of Hong Kong generally served as the British plenipotentiary in the far east in the early years. The Colonial Secretary would also assist in legal matters. A colonial police force was established in the 1840s to handle the high crime rate in Hong Kong. By China's standards, colonial Hong Kong's code of punishment was considered laughably loose and lenient. [1] The lack of intimidation may have been the leading cause for the continual rise in crime. [1] Po Leung Kuk became one of the first organisations established to deal with the abduction of women and prostitution crisis. Crime at sea was also common as some pirates had access to cutlasses and revolvers. [1] Court sessions for criminal and admiralty matters were first held on 4 March 1844 under the aegis of the first governor, Lieutenant General Sir Henry Pottinger and the Lieutenant-governor George D'Aguilar. [17]

Pandemics and disasters Edit

The Third Pandemic of bubonic plague broke out in China in the 1880s. By the spring of 1894 about 100,000 were reported dead in the mainland. In May 1894 the disease erupted into Hong Kong's overcrowded Chinese quarter of Tai Ping Shan. By the end of the month, an estimated 450 people died of the illness. [1] At its height, the epidemic was killing 100 people per day, and it killed a total of 2,552 people that year. The disease was greatly detrimental to trade and produced a temporary exodus of 100,000 Chinese from the colony. Plague continued to be a problem in the territory for the next 30 years. In the 1870s a typhoon hit Hong Kong one evening reaching its height by midnight. An estimated 2,000 people lost their lives in a span of just six hours. [1] [12]

Transport Edit

The growth of Hong Kong depended greatly on domestic transport of citizens and cargo across Victoria Harbour. The establishment of the Star Ferry and the Yaumati Ferry would prove to be vital. In 1843 the colony had built the first ship at a private shipyard. Some of the customers later included the Spanish government in the Philippines and the Chinese navy. The Peak Tram would begin in 1888 along with the Tramway service in 1904. The first railway line was also launched in 1910 as the Kowloon-Canton Railway. On land the rickshaws were extremely popular when they were first imported from Japan in 1874, since it was affordable and necessary for street merchants to haul goods. Sedan chairs were the preferred mode of the transport for the wealthy Europeans who lived on Victoria Peak due to the steep grade which ruled out rickshaws until the introduction of the Peak Tram. The first automobiles in Hong Kong had petrol-driven internal combustion engines and arrived between 1903 and 1905. Initially they were not well received by the public. Only around 1910 did the cars begin to gain appeal. Most of the owners were British. [18] Buses operated by various independent companies flourished in the 1920s until the government formally issued franchises for the China Motor Bus and Kowloon Motor Bus companies in 1933. The flying boats were the first British aeroplanes to reach Hong Kong in 1928. By 1924 the Kai Tak Airport would also be found. The first flight service from Imperial Airways would become available by 1937 at a price of 288 pounds per ticket. [14]

Hospitals and hospitality Edit

Soon after the British occupied Hong Kong in 1841, Protestant and Catholic missionaries started to provide social service. Italian missionaries began to provide boy-only education to British and Chinese youth in 1843. "The Catholic French Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres" was one of the first orphanage and elderly home was established in 1848. [19]

In 1870 the Tung Wah Hospital became the first official hospital in Hong Kong. It handled much of the social services and was providing free vaccinations in Hong Kong Island and Kwang Tung. After raising funds for the 1877 famine in China, a number of the hospital officials became Tung Wah elites with much authority and power representing the Chinese majority. [20] Some of the booming hotel businesses of the era included the Victoria Hotel, New Victoria Hotel and the King Edward Hotel. [21]

Finance Edit

In 1864 the first large scale modern bank Hong Kong Shanghai Bank would be established turning Hong Kong into the focal point of financial affairs in Asia. Its chief manager, Sir Thomas Jackson, has a statue in Statue Square. The bank first leased Wardley House at HKD 500 a month in 1864. After raising a capital of HKD 5 million, the bank opened its door in 1865. [16] The Association of Stockbrokers would also be established in 1891.

Resources Edit

In December 1890 the Hongkong Electric company went into production with help from Catchick Paul Chater. It was the first step in allowing the transition of gas lamps to light bulbs. [22] Other companies like Jardine Matheson would launch the "Hong Kong Land Investment and Agency company Ltd" accumulating a wealth as large as the entire government's total revenue. [14] (See also China Light and Power.)

ACB's History of Hong Kong

This short history of the place known in English as Hong Kong is intended, above all, to be fun to read.

It can claim no sort of historical merit – it is anecdotal, it is discursive, it relies heavily on secondary sources and whilst it does have a few dates, it is woefully short of statistics. It was written for two very different groups of friends who did not know Hong Kong but who wanted a short and readable account of its history – the first group were American and Australian and the second group were Northern Chinese, mostly Beijingers. Both encouraged me to write an account from the only perspective that I can lay claim to – that of an ordinary member of the British expatriate middle class in Hong Kong during the last quarter of the 20th century – but I have tried to illuminate the story by making use of stories and anecdotes from friends who have, or had, a different perspective where possible. Where I quote someone who is no longer with us I give their name in full and where I quote someone who is still alive I abbreviate their name.

I chose to start with Alexander Dalrymple’s visit to Macau, rather than at any other point, because it was with Dalrymple’s visit that the idea of a foreign trading settlement on the coast of China, using Hong Kong's harbour, the best in China, may be said to have begun.

One general point deserves emphasis – the great attraction of Hong Kong was the harbour, which, formed as a strait between a rocky island and the mainland, had three great advantages. Firstly, since the harbour has two entrances, it was possible for a sailing ship to enter or leave Hong Kong regardless of the direction of the wind. Second, because no river runs through it, it is not subject to silting up, unlike all the river estuaries of China. Lastly, because of the height of the surrounding land, the narrow entrances and the good quality of the sea bed, Hong Kong offers ships good shelter from typhoons. Only in recent years have deep sea merchant ships outgrown Hong Kong Harbour.

Throughout the period of this little history, the fact that Hong Kong is a harbour has been vastly more important than the fact that Hong Kong is an island. Hong Kong is, and always has been, mainly about trade. Hong Kong ceased to be self sustaining in food some time in the 1850's, and by the 1950's it was no longer self sustaining in water. If Hong Kong cannot trade, it will die.

Any account of Hong Kong that, perhaps through concentrating on the difference of cultures, the rise and fall of empires, and so on, misses this point, misses almost the whole point.

Of course, when Dalrymple arrived, China was not interested in harbours - had not been interested in them for hundreds of years, since the reign of the Jongle Emperor of Ming, so the benefits of Hong Kong as a harbour were of no concern to the Imperial Government. Today, things could hardly be more different, with China more open to the world than at any time since the Tang, and operating a huge deep sea trading merchant fleet. Hong Kong played a part in that story, too, but I have not covered it here.

I have chosen to stop in July 1997, not because Hong Kong's history stopped then (I would have liked to cover, at least, the response to the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997) but because this site is concerned with Old Hong Kong, and, even in Hong Kong, thirteen years is not very old!

Watch the video: The Hong Kong Story History of Hong Kong 1841 to 1997 (May 2022).


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